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How Sindhutai converted every adversity into an achievement
On international women's day Sindhutai Sapkal inspired a packed hall with poignant episodes narrated with great wit and energy
 
"A mother can never be defeated. A woman can never be defeated. But she needs to keep her heart strong and learn to forgive," says Sindhutai Sapkal, the social reformer and Mai (mother) to over 1,050 orphans. She was speaking at the International Women's Day celebrations organised by Moneylife Foundation with support from Magarpatta City and Symbiosis International University in Pune.
 
Sindhutai's story is one of incredible grit and determination to fight adversity. At the age of 20, when she was nine months pregnant, she was kicked, beaten and left to die in a cowshed. Her daughter was born in that semi-conscious stage and she cut the umbilical cord herself and went away with her daughter to try and stay alive.  The beauty of Sindutai Sapkal's life story is that she went on to build multiple orphanages and nurture over 1,000 children and give shelter to innumerable women, who are destitute and abandoned. 
 
She shared her experiences about her struggle in a unique style with song and laughter and lessons of life, without trivialising the tragic and humiliating experiences she faced. She said, "Several times I tried to commit suicide. But everytime something, maybe the unknown power, saved me. And everytime I decided to live for others who are dying". She said...
 

कफ़न को जेब नहीं होती
और मौत कभी रिश्वत नहीं लेती
 

Sindhutai also shared her experience of giving up her own daughter to an orphanage so that she could remain fair to all the other orphans she adopted over the years. What shines through in her talk is her indomitable spirit, extraordinary courage and  high intelligence, combined with street smarts. 
 
“I have experienced what it feels like to have no one with you, no place to go, no shelter and no food to eat for days. My small work makes me feel like someone is helping me heal my own wounds. So all wonds heal with time, but you must live, stay alive for others” she says...
 
"जीवनाची प्रेतयात्रा थांबली जेंव्हा स्मशानी, घेतला काढून खांदा ओळखीच्या माणसानी"
 
Talking about healed wounds, Sindhutai said, "Few years back, at the age of around 80, my husband came back to me apologetically. I told him I could accept him only as my child and not as a wife. Because, a woman is wife for some time, but is mother at all the time. Now, I tell my other children that they should thank this oldest child for having me as their Mai."
 
The children who Mai or Sindhutai has nurtured are proud to carry her name as their middle and last name. So, all boys use Sapkal while girls use Sathe (Sindhutai's maiden surname) as their surnames. She told the story of Vinay Sindhutai Sapkal, who she rescued from the arms of a dead mother, when he was a few days old. He is now a qualified advocate, but prefers to assist her and help run the orphanages and accompany her on her talks.
 
When asked about how she gets orphans admitted into her orphanages, Sindhutai said, "After my speeches at various places, local people bring to me children without parents or an immediate family. After taking a signed letter from the local district administration, we usually admit such child into our orphanage."
 
A gifted orator, Sindhutai, with her singing, using quotes from poet-saints Tukaram, Namdeo, Bahinabai, Gadgebaba and Tukdoji Maharaj as well as poet Suresh Bhat and switching easily between Hindi and Marathi with ease hold the audience to rapt attention, laughing and clapping one moment and wiping tears of anguish at another. 
 
"However," she said, "despite all the awards (750 and more) and travelling across regions and even to the US, I am still a begger (none of her orphanages receive any grant from the government). Earlier my singing used to provide me with food. Today it is my speeches that gives us food. पहले गाना था तो खाना मिलता था, अब भाषण है तो राशन है."
 
Earlier, Sindhutai felicitated two winners of Majhi Maitrin Charitable Trust's awards for 2016. Majhi Maitrin's Savitribai Phule Award 2016 was be given to Tejaswi Sevekari, Director of Saheli Sangh, a community organisation working for the welfare of sex workers and Pandita Ramabai Award to Sangli-based Women's Education Society.
 
Every year, Moneylife Foundation felicitate two women activists for their extra ordinary work for woman empowerment. However, this year, we decided to collaborate with Majhi Maitrin, for felicitating two awardees, says Sucheta Dalal, Founder-Trustee of Moneylife Foundation.
 
She also pointed out that International Women's Day is increasingly becoming a "Fair and Lovely" event, which is all about glamour and far removed from the original idea of recognising women's struggles for equality. Very few organisations are willing to support serious events to mark this day and we were fortunate that Magarpatty City, Bank of Maharashtra and Symbiosis International University shared these ideals and supported the idea. 
 
Sindhutai's life is truly inspirational. She fought abject childhood poverty and ill-treatment to set up several orphanages. She has nurtured over 1,050 orphans and fought for the rights of the poor and disadvantaged. Her life story has been captured in a biopic - 'Mee Sindhutai Sapkal' and her extraordinary work has been recognised with hundreds of awards.
 
Sindhutai runs four homes for orphans and others in need across Maharashtra.  
 
Today, her grand family comprises 207 son-in-laws, 36 daughter-in-laws and over 1,000 grandchildren. Many of them are well-educated lawyers and doctors, and some, including her biological daughter, are running their own independent orphanages.
 
Well-known anchor and presenter Sudhir Gadgil did compering of the program.
 
This program was organised with support from Bank of Maharashtra (as Silver Sponsor), Softcell Technologies (Technology Partner), Symbiosis International University, Majhi Maitrin Charitable Trust, Corporate Citizen (Media Partner) and Sadhu Vaswani Institute of Management Studies for Girls.
 
Here are contact details for Sindhutai Sapkal...
 
Sanmati Bal Niketan Sanstha Belhekar Vasti, Near Vasantadada Sugar Institute, Manjari (Budruk) Taluka- Haveli, Dist.- Pune, PIN - 412307 Tel: 020-26999541
Email: [email protected]
 
Here are bank details, if you want to donate...
A/c Name: Sanmati Bal Niketan A/c Type: Savings A/c No: 102104000077288 Bank Name: IDBI Bank, Hadapsar Branch, Pune IFSC: IBKL0000102
Email: [email protected] (You can send an email giving details of your donation to Sanmati Bal Niketan)
 

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COMMENTS

J Pinto

8 months ago

The harvest is rich but the labourers are few

May God give the same strength wit and positive attitude to many more labourers.

Mahesh S Bhatt

9 months ago

They make very very less WO-MEN of these kinds.

MAA Tujhe aur Tere Pyar aur Dular bhale Dil ko Koti Koti Pranam.

Vande Sindhutai May strengthen you to handle many many more orphans.

Mahesh Bhatt

Prakash Patel

9 months ago

Please upload the video of this program if available for the sake of those who could not attend

Rajendra Ganatra

9 months ago

Fantastic story of grit. I would have loved to attend the function but had to be in Chandigarh! I will visit her someday to understand how she brings sunshine to the disadvantaged! Hats off to her spirit!

Please share the details of Sindhutai's organization so that I can make some contribution.

Sadanand Patwardhan

9 months ago

>>>
Today, her grand family comprises 207 son-in-laws, 36 daughter-in-laws and over 1,000 grandchildren.
<<<
These figures are a telling commentary on the bias against GIRL child in our society [majority Hindu], which has given great soul Sindhutai almost 6 times more SIL than DIL.

Mahesh S Bhatt

9 months ago

Maa Tujhe Salaam Sindhu Aai/Mai/Tai/Sai.

Great comedy of Responsible people taking more responsibility than they are suppossed to take based of traditional Management Roles.

But these great souls go beyond the call of duty( which is thrusted) & act voluntarily & willfully for betterment of Humanity to become Goodly First & Godly soon.

A great evolution for Human to become Godly & Giving achiving ultimate KARMIC Excellence without expectaions of Fruits of Work,with total devotion/surrender forgiveness/seva( Servant Leadership).

Other end our elected MP/MLA/MLC's busy collecting corrupt money thorugh newer schemes & belittling the official position of office.

Failing themselves/supported by Party Leaders/Judiciary/Government & their own souls.God also cannot bless/save them how shall electorate.

Another eg is Kailash Satyarthi.God Bless

Good Work Money Life and team.Kudos to Sucheta Dalal/Debashis Basu Leaders

Mahesh Bhatt

Chavi Hemanth

9 months ago

we often just keep thinking. All of us including me should try to give back to society.

The is a live example of when u got to do u just do it .

mariyam khatib

9 months ago

My family really salutes you Maa with a big salam Peace.

Mohd.Tahir Sayed

9 months ago

IT was an emotionally charged programme with Sindhutai managing to lighten the horror of her life experiences with humour and an engaging style.
Thank you Moneylife for organising this event.
ISHRAT TAHIR SAYED.

S.S.A.Zaidi

9 months ago

Wow---I salute this MA (MOTHER)

Pramod Bhave

9 months ago

It was an inspiring program. Thanks to Moneylife Foundation for holding the event in Pune.

INBEF, banking wing of INTUC, organises massive dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi
Ramachandra Khuntia, working president of INBEF, criticised the policy of the government which is against the working class and seeking changes in the labour laws favouring corporates and industrialists, according to a release from INBEF
 
A massive dharna by INBEF (Indian National Bank Employees’ Federation), banking wing of INTUC  (Indian National Trade Union Congress) was held on Friday, 4 March 2016 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, according to a release from INBEF. The major issues raised at the dharna included re-structuring of agricultural loans of farmers, recovery of NPAs (non-performing assets), providing adequate capital for needy banks, implementation of transfer policy for female bank employees and update of pension for retired bank staff and criticising restructuring 5:25 policy of RBI (Reserve Bank of India) for corporate loans, victimisation of Union Office-bearers and non-framing of rules for fixing up accountability of EDs (executive directors)/CMDs (chairmen and managing directors) /CEOs(chief executive officers) of PSBs (public sector banks).
 
The dharna was inaugurated by Ramachandra Khuntia, working president of INBEF.  In his inaugural address he extended full support of INTUC and the Congress Party for the agitation. He criticised the policy of the government which is against the working class and seeking changes in the labour laws favouring the corporates and industrialists. He vehemently criticised the policy to impose tax on 60% of PF (provident fund) withdrawal, the INBEF release said.
 
Gajanan Kirtikar, Member of Parliament, Shivsena, assured the bank employees that he will raise the issues in Parliament.  He also opined that CMDs/EDs should be made accountable and accordingly dealt with for their wrong-doings.  
Prashant Bhushan, senior counsel at the Supreme Court congratulated INBEF for taking up the issue of the recovery of NPAs of banks.  He criticised the functioning of the government, particularly, in the banking sector.  He cited an example of how Adani and SBI (State Bank of India) Chairperson flew to Australia along with the Prime Minister, who was bent on extending the credit facility worth approximately  Rs6,000 crore. This was when six Australian banks had refused to do so by giving the reason that the project was without environmental clearance, Bhushan pointed out, according to the release.
 

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COMMENTS

Ashok m Rane

9 months ago

Subhash sawant has done a very good job by organising a Dharna on Banks' NPA issue at Delhi. The Banks and the Govt. should necessarily initiate criminal action against NPA Borrowers. Instead they are writting off huge amounts of NPAs in the name of Balance sheet clean up.Can any one provide the recovery data as to how much amount is recovered out of written off debts, by Banks? The hard earned deposits of small depositors are looted by Big Corporates in this loot.

Sister Lucy Kurien of Maher selected to receive the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2015
The award will be presented to Sister Lucy Kurien by the President of India in a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on 8 March 2016 on the occasion of International Women’s Day
 
Sister Lucy Kurien of Maher has been selected to receive the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2015 for her outstanding contribution to women's empowerment. The children of Maher come from the streets and slums, from begging communities, from parents unable to care for them, from other institutions that have rejected them. They come for short- or long-term stays, and for as long as they live at Maher, they receive schooling, tutoring, excellent nutrition and meditation.
 
Today, Maher operates 36 houses served by a veritable army of loving doctors, social workers, teachers, trustees, business people and volunteers, providing homes for close to 1,200 full-time residents (860 children, 300 women - including 120 mentally ill women and 31 mentally ill or aged and destitute men). Thousands more are reached by Maher’s community outreach programmes such as self-help groups, kindergarten schools, village libraries, street theatre performances and health and education initiatives. All are welcome at Maher—regardless of religion, gender, caste, colour, creed, or social status. Maher was founded by Sister Lucy Kurien in 1997 in Pune district in Maharashtra.
 
The award will be presented to Sister Lucy Kurien by the President of India in a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on 8 March 2016 on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
 
Moneylife magazine has done its little bit to make Maher well known to readers and donors by publishing an article about it in the Beyond Money page of the Issue dated 17 March 2016. You can read it online here.

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